What impact does Bore really have ?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Masterwannabe, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. Masterwannabe

    Masterwannabe Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 11, 2009
    For fear of starting a thread that has been done before (I really could not find one) and of sounding ignorant, could some of you please give a general tutorial of the impact of the bore on playing and sound. For instance where on the horn is the bore measured? What is considered a large/medium/small bore? I have seen many comments on this site talking about bore as if we all knew just what it is.

    :huh: If you don't know where you are going it doesn't matter how you get there!
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    I am not an expert on all aspects of bore topics but I will get you started. First the simple question - where is is measured? I have read that it is measured at the 2nd valve slide. However, even that description is not necessarily precise as some commenters say that it is measured on the slide itself and others on the pipe extending from the valve. Of course, the difference is the thickness of the pipe wall since the slide inserts inside the valve pipe. It would make the most sense to measure the inside of the slide since that is the actual diameter of the passageway for the air to pass.

    As far as playablility, the most general consideration about bore is that the larger the bore, the more air is needed to "fill" it. However, it seems to me that there are other considerations, particularly the mouthpiece throat and backbore that will also affect the amount of air that can be moved, and the fact that the sound of the trumpet is not created by sheer velocity or mass of air, but rather by a vibrating standing wave in the air column so it is not like blowing through a straw vs blowing through a 1" pipe.

    In the end, it seems that it is more related to the quality of the sound. For example, a trombone has a much larger bore than any trumpet and is has that broad, mellow, distant sound vs the trumpets bright, piercing, focused sound. The bore has a lot to do with that.

    Now, within the trumpet family, I am not sure that the bore is a huge factor. It seems that there are other design elements that affect the sound more - such as the conical section, the bell shape and size, the leadpipe taper, the thichness of the brass, etc. I have 21 Trumpets and I have measured the bores and there are 11 different bore sizes just within my personal collection. Yet, when I play them, the broadness or mellowness of the tone is not directly correlated to the bore size. So, in the end, I think it is a relatively minor factor and when looking for a trumpet, there are other aspects which will certainly weigh much more heavily in the decision-making process.

    As far as categorizing the bore sizes, I am not sure where the exact boundaries are between them and as I said, there are many small increments in the spectrum but the general categories and typical bore in each would be: small=.450", Medium=.455", Medium Large= .460", Large= .468", and XL=.472".

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  3. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah
    I know I am not the person to be answering this and expect to be corrected by just about everyone, but there you sit waiting for one, so I'll start, weather the abuse, and one of the moderators will set us all straight.

    The bore is measured at the second valve tube. Pull the second valve slide and measure the inside diameter of the tube with some calipers. (You can get good electronic ones-isn't everything electronic?--off the web for about $25.) Barring calipers, lay a good ruler across one opening and estimate as well as you can.

    On bore sizes, let's start in the middle: ML = medium large is usually thought as .459 or .460 inches. I am not sure where L starts except that it is above that. And some horns go way above that. For example I believe the Chicago X3 Benzes and their copies were .463 or .464 and were considered large bore horns--so maybe anything a few thousands of an inch above .460 is a large. I have two cornets--the Stomvi Elite is about .470 and an old Conn 80A Victor is a massive .484. I believe that the Flip Oaks trumpets are at .470 in. as well and are considered large bore. Someone else may comment, but I have never seen one designated as XL and don't know where that may start. Medium (M) bore horns range below the ML. I just picked up a new Schilke B6L, it is a medium bore horn at .450. I had a Conn Connstellation 36B, it was a .437 or .438. (Measurement error is such that I think the thousandth digit can be off just in the way you set the calipers. ) I believe all these latter horns would be considered M bores. I don't know of any small bore trumpets because outside of the Bb instrument my knowledge is zip. Maybe someone else will provide that data. My guess is that as you ascend the keys in which the trumpet is tuned, the bore gets smaller. Interestingly, the European designed flugels are small bored. I think my Stomvi is .421, but that may be an incorrect memory.

    Now is when answers to your other questions get really more subjective, that is, on playability and sound, and--Katie bar the door--this is where the moderators usually kick butt and take names. The reason is that from at that point things become highly individual. But I'll take the shot from my perspective. While all trumpet playing demands good air support, in general (I feel) that the larger the bore, the greater the air demanded. So, while diaphragm support remains the same, larger bore horns will resonate better with more air going through than less. I am just switching from a Stomvi Forte to the Schilke--the latter requires much less air and still sings.

    Next unsupported--but trumpet-myth (?)--statement. The larger the trumpet bore the more symphonic the sound. Some will say the broader the sound, or the fatter the sound. The smaller the bore (within limits, let's say Bb only) the more focused, commercial, or jazz sound. (Man, I can feel the experts lurking!)

    And then the other huge variable in all of this--horn, player, etc melange--is the mouthpiece. It alone can change the broadness, focus, symphonic, jazz, commercialness of the sound. And there are multiple variables there, too: rim diameter, backbore size, cup depth, etc.

    Hope this is a little clarifying. Let's see what the big dogs say.
  4. trumpmac

    trumpmac Pianissimo User

    Aug 8, 2009
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Schilke's web site states: "Bore size is the diameter of the inner slide on the second valve". They go on to tell how it is only a part of the overall equation of sound. "Bore size is such a small part of the total equation".
  5. Masterwannabe

    Masterwannabe Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 11, 2009
    I was beginning to suspect that bore may not be as significant as some would make it appear as I have definitely noticed differences in sound when I have experimented with some old mouthpieces I have laying around. I noticed some difference in sound/tone between my Connstellation and an old Martin Imperial with the same mouthpiece but not as much as with different mouthpieces.

    I want to add a slight variation to my question in regards to the piccolo trumpet. I have stated in an other post that I am looking for a reasonably priced picc and have seen numerous comments by some that a larger bore picc is the best. If, as it seems so far, bore is relatively insignificant why do some think a large bore picc is necessary?

    I am getting the feeling that Winton Marsalis, Rapheal Mendez, Chris Botti or Maurice Andre' playing a student Bach would still sound better than most of us (especially me) on the best horn ever made. In other words each individual/horn/mouthpiece combination is probably going to produce a different sound and the results are infinite.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it! :play:
  6. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

    Apr 5, 2008
    The combination meat/metal is the most important part
  7. Sanderson Man

    Sanderson Man Pianissimo User

    May 16, 2009
    I have been trying to find an answer to this question for a long time.
    In my experience as a trumpet player in a high school marching band...

    1. It takes more air to put a substantial sound though a large bore horn

    2. If you can put the air through the horn, you will be able to play louder while keeping a good tone.

    3. When playing louder, your tone will be less "blatty".

    With this info we realize that large bore horns were probably designed with marching bands in mind.

    4. Large bore horns are typically more rare and expensive.
  8. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2009
    umm your assumptions are pretty much right. But Im pretty sure its for projection in large symphony. If you ever seen a professional orchestra play theirs usually only 2-4 trumpets.
  9. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    I think that those assumptions are mostly myths. The way a certain instrument works is a result of several variables. Differences between large and medium bore on trumpets are too small to bring any significant change in performance. The resistance, projection, dynamics possible, ease of tone production etc are determined among others by the leadpipe, valves, bell flare, bracing and materials used...then we should consider also match and interaction between the trumpet, mp and player...
  10. Sanderson Man

    Sanderson Man Pianissimo User

    May 16, 2009
    While were on the subject. What are some good large bore horns for less than $800?

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